Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Singing on a Kia

It's not all bad.

And I've got such a crush on Margaret Chan.

What we are now hearing is calls for a fundamental re-engineering of the international systems. We are hearing clear calls, from leaders around the world, to give these systems a moral dimension and to invest them with social values – like equity, sustainability, community, and social justice.

Personally, when I hear these calls, I cannot help but think of primary health care and the value system articulated in the Declaration of Alma-Ata 30 years ago.

Even before the financial crisis, many public health leaders saw great merit in returning to the values, principles, and approaches of public health.

In my view, values like equity and social justice are more important now, in this out-of-balance world, than ever before.

Human society has always been characterized by inequities. History has long had its robber-barons, and its Robin Hoods. The difference today is that these inequities, especially in access to health care, have become so deadly.

Technical tools for saving and prolonging lives keep getting better, yet more and more people are left behind, excluded from the benefits of even the older tools.

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